How are validation errors and warnings communicated to content authors in DITA?

Effective communication of validation errors and warnings is crucial to help content authors in DITA maintain the quality and adherence to specified standards. In DITA authoring environments, errors and warnings are typically communicated through various means to guide authors in creating valid content.

Visual Indicators

Authoring environments often use visual indicators to highlight validation issues. These indicators can include color-coded underlines, icons, or other graphical cues within the content editor. For instance, a validation error might be represented with a red underline, while a warning could be shown with a yellow one. These visual cues make it easy for authors to spot issues directly within the content as they work, ensuring prompt corrections.

Messages and Tooltips

When authors hover over or click on the highlighted elements with errors or warnings, authoring environments typically provide informative messages or tooltips. These messages explain the nature of the issue, why it’s a problem, and often offer suggestions for correction. This immediate feedback helps authors understand the validation errors and how to address them effectively.

Summary Reports

Authoring tools usually offer summary reports or panels that list all validation issues found in the entire document. These reports categorize errors and warnings, making it easy for authors to review and fix them systematically. By providing a comprehensive overview of issues, authors can ensure their DITA content complies with the specified standards before finalizing their work.


Here’s an example of how validation errors and warnings are communicated to content authors in a DITA authoring environment:

  <cmd>Run the installer.</cmd>
    <warning>This note should include additional instructions.</warning>

In this example, the authoring environment may highlight the “note” element with a yellow underline to indicate a warning. Hovering over the element would display a tooltip explaining the warning and offering guidance on how to enhance the note’s content for better clarity.